Pocola teams sweep LCT titles
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By David Seeley
Poteau Daily News Editor
TALIHINA — Last year, the Howe High School basketball teams swept the championship games of the LeFlore County Tournament. This year saw another LCT sweep, but this time by a different team.
For the fourth time in the last five years, the Howe Lady Lions and the Pocola Lady Indians met in the LCT championship game. After the Lady Lions won the previous three match-ups with the Lady Indians in the finals, the Lady Indians finally prevailed — winning 66-65 in overtime Saturday night on Chris Gillespie Court at Ray Henson Gymnasium at Talihina High School.
The boys LCT title game was pretty much lopsided as the Pocola Indians handled the Spiro Bulldogs 53-39 to make it a Pocola LCT finals sweep.
In between games, the inaugural LeFlore County Basketball Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame inductions took place at half court.
Nine individuals were enshrined — Heavener Lady Wolves basketball coach Jim Roll, Howe Lions basketball coach Greg Nichols, former Talihina boys basketball coach Chris Gillespie and former coaches Clay Herring, Austin Morton, Steve Linker (who the Whitesboro gym is named after), Bob Traw, Nadine Carpenter and Robert Turner.
Pocola 66, Howe 65, OT
Pocola’s Mika Scott hit a free throw with 10 seconds in overtime to break a 65-all tie.
The Lady Lions had one last shot to earn their eighth straight LCT title, but Shiloh Fletcher’s 3-point attempt missed the mark. Then, as the rebound was battled for, the buzzer sounded, and the Lady Indians won their first LCT title since 2007.
Raelynn Delt’s 3-pointer with a second left in regulation knotted the game at 58-all to force overtime.
A basket by Kayley Turner gave the Lady Lions a 60-58 lead with 2:30 left in OT, and the Howe had the lead for most from then until Scott’s game-winning free throw.
Pocola’s Allyssa Parker, who was named Co-Most Valuable Player with Scott, tied the game at 65 with 57 seconds left.
The Lady Lions had a chance to regain the lead, but came up empty on the ensuing possession.
The Lady Indians started out on fire, scoring the game’s first six points for a 6-0 lead with 5:37 left in the opening period.
The Lady Lions didn’t score until the 5:20 mark on a basket by Maddie Ramsey to cut the deficit to 6-2, but it sparked a 4-2 run to cut Pocola’s lead to 8-6.
The Lady Indians ended the quarter with an 8-2 run to take a 16-8 lead into the second quarter.
Pocola’s Kail Chitwood, who returned to Pocola after playing fast-pitch softball and pre-Christmas break basketball for the Poteau Lady Pirates, hit a 3-pointer with 4:16 left before halftime to increase Pocola’s advantage to 29-16.
However, Howe ended the first half on a 9-2 run, capped by Fletcher’s trey with 12 seconds remaining in the first half to cut the deficit to 31-25 at halftime.
After Howe scored the first basket in the second half, Pocola scored the next four points as Parker’s basket put the Lady Indians ahead 35-29 with 5:01 left in the third quarter.
A Fletcher 3-point bucket gave Howe its first lead of the night at 37-36 with 3:10 remaining in the period.
Pocola responded with a 7-0 run, capped by Chitwood’s 3-pointer with 38 seconds left in the quarter, to give the lead back to the Lady Indians at 44-39. Howe’s Gracie Lute hit a free throw with two seconds remaining in the period to cut Howe’s deficit to 46-42 going into the final quarter.
Fletcher’s basket capped Howe’s 8-3 run to regain the advantage for the Lady Lions at 50-49.
After Pocola’s Bailey Lairamore basket and two free throws on the next two possessions regained the lead for the Lady Indians at 53-50, a three-point play by Turner knotted the game at 53 with 2:35 left in regulation.
A 5-0 run regained Pocola the lead at 58-53, but Turner’s basket cut Howe’s deficit to 58-55 with 18 seconds left — setting up Delt’s dramatic buzzer-beating trey to tie the game at 58 to force overtime.
Pocola 66, Howe 65, OT
Pocola 16 15 15 12 8 — 66
Howe 8 17 17 16 7 — 65
Pocola — Allyssa Parker 29, Mika Scott 13, Kail Chitwood 11, Bailey Lairamore 10, Lety Parga 3.
Howe — Kayley Turner 16, Raelynn Delt 12, Shiloh Fletcher 11, Maddie Ramsey 9, Gracie Lute 9, Jozlyn Johnson 4, Jayce Blake 2, Kalan Nye 2.
Pocola 53, Spiro 39
The Indians jumped out to a 10-2 lead and were truly never headed, enjoying a 13-5 lead after a period, a 28-13 halftime advantage and a 43-26 lead going into the final quarter.
Garrett Scott led Pocola with 17 points and Eli Garrett, who was named the LeFlore County Tournament’s Most Valuable Player, added 13 points.
Jared Huff led the Bulldogs with 10 points.
Pocola 53, Spiro 39
Pocola 13 15 15 10 — 53
Spiro 5 8 13 13 — 39
Pocola — Garrett Scott 17, Eli Garrett 13, Tre Elam 8, Dakota Terrell 5, Zac Jones 4, Austin Hardwick 2, Ian Hardwick 2, A.J. Lyons-Terrell 2.
Spiro — Jared Huff 10, Ethan Robbins 9, Brycen Graham 8, Zander Riggs 5, Braxton Peterson 5, Gabe Perez 2.